Somalia, which is officially known as the Federal Republic of Somalia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It’s bordered by Ethiopia to the west, Djibouti to the northwest, the Gulf of Aden to the north, the Indian Ocean to the east, and Kenya to the southwest. Take a look below for 30 more fascinating and interesting facts about Somalia.
1. Somalia is a semiarid land in the Horn of Africa. It’s flat in the south with mountains in the north reaching more than 2,000 meters, or 6,500 feet.
2. Mogadishu is the capital of Somalia and its biggest city. It’s also known as Xamar.
3. The country is the first African nation that was used for flying warplanes by the British.
4. Somalia is the only country in the world that doesn’t have a central form of government.
5. The Egyptians referred to Somalia as the Land of Punt that was rendered famous for frankincense and myrrh.
6. Restaurants are popular in many cities in Somalia, however, women very rarely dined out with men until the late 1990s.
7. While eating at home, it’s customary for the women to serve the men first. After the men have finished their meals, they will sit down and eat with the children.
8. When eating, people in Somalia scoops the food from their bowl using their first three fingers. Some will roll a banana leaf and use that for scooping. Urban Somalis will use silverware while dining, but many would still rather use their fingers.
9. Somali women are expected to submit to the men, and fulfill their duties as daughters, mothers and wives.
10. Nomads in Somalia consider the country’s pastureland available to all. If a family digs a water well, the property is then considered to be theirs.
11. The most widely recognized symbol in Somalia is the camel. Camels provide meat, milk, transportation, income and status for those who own one.
12. The Civil War in Somalia has been going on for over a decade. The war has been going on primarily against Ethiopia, though U.S. troops have been killed as well when intervening.
13. On March 25, 1994, the United States withdrew from Somalia and the Civil War after being there for 15 months.
14. Lag Badana National Park is located on the far southern coast. It was the first national park to be established in the country. During the second half of the 1980s, the Ministry of Tourism under the Siad Barre administration sought to center the tourist industry in the vicinity of the park, with nearby coral reefs and offshore islands likewise envisioned as part of the development.
15. Laas Geel are cave formation on the rural outskirts of Hargeisa. They have some of the earliest known cave paintings in the Horn of Africa.
16. Laas Geel’s rock art is estimated to date somewhere between 9,000 and 3,000 years B.C. The cave paintings are thought to be some of the most vivid rock art in all of Africa.
17. Located in the heart of Mogadishu, Shanghai Old City is one of the most popular landmarks in the city and is best known for its interesting and unique Chinese architecture. This relatively wealthy area has been controlled by warlords at different periods during the civil war.
18. The Mosque of Islamic Solidarity is a mosque located in Mogadishu. It was constructed in 1987 with financial support from the Saudi Fahd bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Foundation. It’s the main mosque in Somalia’s capital city, and an iconic building in Somali society.
19. The Mosque of Islamic Solidarity is the single biggest masjid in the Horn of Africa. It’s capable of accommodating up to 10,000 worshipers.
20. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Mogadishu is a monument erected in honor of the Somali men and women who died in defense of the Somali Republic. It’s popularly known as Daljirka Dahsoon and it’s an important landmark in Mogadishu.
21. Somalia has been inhabited since at least the Paleolithic Period. During the Stone Age, the Doian and Hargeisan cultures flourished in Somalia.
22. The customary law of Somalia is known as Xeer, which is a polycentric legal system with no institution or legal agents to determine or interpret the laws.
23. Somalia is the only Islamic country in the world that boasts of a 100% concentration of Sunni Muslims.
24. Somalia has the cheapest cellular tariff rates, with some companies charging less than a cent per minute.
25. According to most scholars, Somalia was an important center for commerce with the rest of the ancient world. It’s among the most probably locations of the fabled ancient Land of Punt.
26. During the Middle Ages, several powerful Somali empires dominated the regional trade, including the Ajuran Sultanate, the Adal Sultanate, the Warsangali Sultanate, the Sultanate of the Geledi and the Majeerteen Sultanate.
27. Somalia is made up of 27 regions and was colonized by both the British and the French before it gained independence in July 1, 1960.
28. The origin of the Somali people isn’t known, though some historians argue that the Somali tribe originated in the south European highlands but gradually migrated to populate the Horn of Africa at around 100 B.C.
29. Somalia has a rich musical tradition that has evolved out of Somalian folklore.
30. Somali people are usually tall and slender. Men often wear a flowing plaid ma’awiis or kilt.